Sewing Seeds of Hope in Kinshasa
Juvenal Mbuyi Nsumbu is an aspiring young designer from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As a recent graduate from the Institut Supérieur des Arts et Métiers (ISAM) in Kinshasa, Juvenal was excited to enter a competition organised by the Congo Fashion Institute during the festivities of Congo Fashion Week. The young designer was even more thrilled when she was announced as winner of the competition at the distinguished Pullman Hotel. Her prizes included a solar kit and a sewing machine.
Fashion on the Main Street
The new equipment was a springboard for Juvenal’s ambition and talent. She soon opened the doors to a boutique and workroom on a main street in Kinshasa’s Kintambo Velodrome neighbourhood. The business was very successful and production had to increase fast. The young entrepreneur saw an opportunity for great success and went into business with a partner who had modern equipment, taking the boutique to the next level. For a while Juvenal was producing clothing of a much higher standard with the equipment she was using. Unfortunately her new partner moved to the United States, and Juvenal was left without the equipment she needed to fulfill her orders.
Making Dreams a Reality
The only way Juvenal Mbuyi Nsumbu could continue producing her quality clothing was to take her sewing to ISAM, where she had studied. This is how the determined young designer managed to keep her business afloat until she received a generous offer from the Gertler Family Foundation, which extended financial backing to Juvenal so that she can purchase her own equipment. With the Foundation’s support, she can now boost her business and will be able to employ staff members once that becomes necessary, to help her in this exciting venture. Juvenal has high hopes and dreams for her business, and plans to present her future collections at international events for global exposure.